Timberwolves president of basketball operations Tim Connelly realizes it was a risk dealing so many draft picks and rotation players for Rudy Gobert but felt the club needed another impact player to get to the next level, he told Michael Rand of the Minneapolis Star Tribune on a podcast.
“We’re trying to redefine how the league views us,” Connelly said. “We knew we gave up a lot, but the hardest thing to find is elite talent and elite ‘happy’ talent is even harder to find.”
However, there will be a transition period. “It won’t be easy or seamless,” Connelly added. “I’m sure there will be some clunky moments initially. But we felt like we took a huge step forward with the acquisition of Rudy.”
We have more from the Northwest Division:
- Donovan Mitchell thanked former Jazz coach Quin Snyder and Utah fans in an Instagram post as he waits for the blockbuster deal with the Cavaliers to become official. “Thank you for the memories and the incredible times… you guys watched me grow up on and off the floor… Coach Quin thank you for giving me the opportunity and trusting me to lead this team for the past 5 years‼️”
- Grading the impending deal, Sarah Todd of the Deseret News gives the Jazz a B-plus and the Cavs a B. Todd notes the Jazz accomplished their goal of trying to get younger and to come away with some assets for future use. There’s also the possibility of Mitchell or some of Cleveland’s other stars eventually bolting in free agency, which would make those unprotected picks and pick swaps even more valuable.
- Trail Blazers coach Chauncey Billups is at the EuroBasket tournament in Germany and feels it’s important to show support for his players, such as Bosnia’s Jusuf Nurkic, he told Antonis Stroggylakis of Eurohoops.net. “I love to see guys go play on their national teams,” Billups said. “Because you’re playing the right way. You’re playing with a purpose and obviously because of that experience you’ll be in shape.”